Some months you should just never get out of bed. I am totally back to posting after having a bit of a bad run. Sorry for the delay in posting my DBC for February, but as you will read it was a bit of an epic fail.
The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Aparana of My Diverse Kitchen and deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from the Washington Post, Cordon Blue at Home and Baking Obsession.
Those of you that regularly read my blog and follow me on Twitter will know that I went over to the USA in January and besides a extra suitcase full of purchases I brought home a horrid bug. It was a flu type thing which had me coughing non stop day and night and lasted a month despite antibiotics and numerous visits to my doctor.
Therefore my initial ideas of spun toffee, hazelnut praline and other such fantasies which filled my head quickly disappeared when it actually came to the task involved – seriously I felt like a walking talking corpse.
D day came and I got up bright an early on the Saturday morning determined to create something at least edible and I started with my mascarpone cheese. Yah that is where it all just started to crumble around me and my sleep deprived fragile little brain just could not cope.
I attempted the mascarpone but sadly when it came to transferring it to the cheesecloth lined sieve it all just ran through, it hadn’t thickened enough. That’s when my face fell and I took a deep breath, my heart was not truly in to it. So I decided okay, one process a fail, just buy the damn cheese and carry on. So that is what I did, I ventured out and bought mascarpone as well as the other groceries I had to pick up.
My enthusiasm had completely gone by the time I got home with bags of groceries and the cheese. I felt run down and not too well at all and thought to myself “why am I doing this?” “why do I do these challenges?”. I do them because I love doing them, it is for totally self absorbed reasons, but this month, sadly not. So I thought just do one other thing. I went for the zabaglione.
It worked in all it’s taste and brilliance. I doubled the mixture and halved the marsala as I knew It would be eaten as a stand alone dessert not as part of the tiramisu.
My confidence was back and the cough had subsided a little and I thought, okay lets just try one more thing from the challenge. Savoiardi biscuits it was to be.
They worked, omg, bum dance around the kitchen, they worked. I even made a few hazelnut ones which I sprinkled with demura sugar.
The final product ended up being dessert for junior and I of zabaglione topped with cream and grated dark chocolate, savoiardi biscuits on the side and a shot of espresso.
(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Sara’s notes: I don’t think I left it to cool long enough, and I also wish I had my thermometer as I don’t think I reached the correct temperature.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
Sara’s notes: I doubled everything in this recipe except the Marsala – NOTE – In Australia we are no longer allowed to call it Marsala, it is called Crema All ‘Uovo.
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,
Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.
So yah this challenge was a bit of a fizzer for me, but next month should be a totally different ball game.
To make the month complete my lap top died and it took over two weeks for the replacement to arrive so that delayed my post being put up.
On the bright side, I have so much to share with you guys. Numerous posts to come on my trip to the USA, some other epic fails, some brilliant successes and super foodie happenings that have been going on in Sydney of late.
So till next time, which will not be too far away, I promise.